Chelsea bid £26m for Essien

French sports daily L’Equipe has reported that Chelsea lodged a £26m bid for 22-year-old Lyon midfielder Michael Essien.

But L’OM president Jean-Michel Aulas has insisted any club interested in signing the Ghana international will have to pay more.

Aulas told L’Equipe: “Even at £26m I will not sell Michael Essien. The offer will have to be considerably higher.”

This news will come as a shock to the Salford Quays Buccaneers who have apparently been given the go-ahead by the Glazers to sign Essien — for £17m.

Essien is one of the most sought-after players in Europe after another impressive campaign for Lyon, who have just captured their fourth successive Ligue 1 title.